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NEW DELHI: A steady fall in covid-19 cases across the country and a gradual easing of related mobility curbs have prompted Indians to start making travel plans, with bookings seeing a rise.

"There are very initial signs of recovery with reduced caseloads and relaxation of restrictions by several states. Traffic and booking volumes have almost doubled from a couple of weeks back," said Rajiv Subramanian, vice president at online travel platform Cleartrip.

"Share of round trips and advance bookings have also seen an uptick. Both these metrics have been good lead indicators of consumer confidence in the past 12 months or so. This recovery should continue, with more cities seeing reduced caseloads and accelerated vaccination," he added.

Domestic air passenger traffic recently witnessed a rebound, after having declined for 10 consecutive weeks, helped by a significant dip in cases and state governments easing mobility curbs.

Average number of daily fliers stood at 75,000 for the week ended 5 June compared with 49,000 fliers during the previous week, according to a report by ICICI Securities.

Average departures rose to 907 during the week from 773 in the previous week, the report showed. The number of fliers per departure improved to 83 during the week from 64 in the previous weeks.

"Average daily fliers grew 52% WoW due to 17% growth in departures and 30% increase in the number of fliers per departure," the report said.

India’s largest domestic airline IndiGo, which recently reported its fifth straight quarterly loss primarily because of disruptions in the wake of the pandemic, expects domestic passenger traffic to revive by the end of 2021 and international traffic by mid-2022, as per airline's chief executive Ronojoy Dutta told Mint recently.

Credit rating agency Crisil, however, expects FY22 domestic air traffic to stay way below pre-pandemic levels and fully recover only by the fourth quarter of FY23, because of the impact of the second wave of the pandemic.

“The second wave will push back the revival of business travel and pick-up of international traffic, which account for more than half of overall traffic," said Manish Gupta, senior director, Crisil Ratings.

“Given this backdrop, we now expect traffic volumes this fiscal to be about 60% of fiscal 2020 levels and recovery to pre-pandemic levels happening only by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023," he said.

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